0825 GMT January 15, 2021
China’s deputy head of mission in the Australian capital, Wang Xining, said on Tuesday that Australian officials did not consider any source for the coronavirus other than the Chinese city of Wuhan, which was the first to report the virus, late last year, Press TV reported.
Back in April, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said in a phone call with US President Donald Trump that he backed Washington’s call for an international investigation into the coronavirus pandemic. Trump had long insinuated that the virus was born in China.
“The proposal helped Washington put more pressure on China,” Wang said.
The Trump administration has been suggesting that the coronavirus was artificially synthesized at a lab in China and that Beijing failed to act promptly when its own outbreak began in December.
Wang also dismissed concerns about what Australia calls China’s attempts to influence Australian politics, saying Beijing’s views were candidly presented and did not affect people’s choice of a political system.
“I don’t see any reason for whining about your constitutional fragility and intellectual vulnerability,” the Chinese diplomat said. “We should not let a cold heart and a dark mind cast a shadow over our partnership.”
Wang also said he hoped Australia would provide a fair environment for Chinese investors.
This week, China Mengniu Dairy Co. walked away from a proposed 600-million-dollar acquisition of Australian firm Lion Dairy and Drinks after domestic media said the Australian government would reject it.
A report in The Australian Financial Review said last week that Australia’s Treasurer Josh Frydenberg would not allow the China-linked takeover of Lion.
Wang also denied accusations of “economic coercion” regarding China’s tariffs on some Australian products.
China, Australia’s major trading partner, has recently imposed tariffs on Australian barley, suspended some beef imports, and told its students and tourists to avoid traveling to Australia.
Morrison said on Wednesday the trade relationship with China was mutually beneficial, and that “Australia will always stand up for its own interests”.